Pervasive silicification and hanging wall overplating along the 13°20′N oceanic detachment fault (Mid-Atlantic Ridge) Journal Article uri icon

DCO ID 11121/1095-9179-1691-6314-CC

is Contribution to the DCO

  • YES

year of publication

  • 2017


  • The corrugated detachment fault zone of the active 13°20′N oceanic core complex (Mid‐Atlantic Ridge) was investigated with a deep‐sea vehicle to assess the links between deformation, alteration, and magmatism at detachment fault zones. We present a study of 18 in situ fault rock samples from striated fault outcrops on the flanks of microbathymetric corrugations. All the samples are mafic breccias that are mostly derived from a diabase protolith, with two of them also showing mixing with ultramafic clasts. Breccias are cataclastic and display variable deformation textures, recording numerous slip events, and showing pervasive silicification throughout the fault zone. Deformation‐silicification relationships are also complex, showing both static and syntectonic quartz precipitation; undeformed quartz overprints the fault breccia textures, and reflective and striated fault surfaces cross‐cut silicified rocks. In situ detachment fault rocks are mainly fault breccias with almost exclusively basaltic clasts, with rare ultramafic ones, a lithology and texture never observed previously at other oceanic detachment fault zones. We propose the lower dyke complex in the hanging wall crust at the volcanic rift valley floor is the most plausible diabase source. Mechanical mixing of predominantly mafic and rare ultramafic clasts suggests an underlying ultramafic footwall and that mafic accretion operates in the shallowest crust (1–2 km), at the base of the dyke complex at temperatures >400°C. Silicification is produced by silica‐rich fluids syntectonically channeled along the fault zone, and likely derived from hydrothermal alteration of basaltic rocks, likely mixed with serpentinization‐derived fluids.


  • 18


  • 6